Is Stucco The Best Choice For You

Are you interested in building a new home or re-siding your existing home? Examine the qualities of stucco to see if it is your best option.

As a homeowner, you may pay a lot of attention to decorating the interior of your home, but the exterior is also important. You want it to look beautiful, but it also needs to stand up to the elements. You may also want it to have other specific features. There are several different materials used to construct the exteriors of homes. Some homeowners opt for brick. Others choose vinyl siding or some other material, such as wood. In some cases, that choice comes down solely to personal preference. However, the environment may play a role. Budget is also a deciding factor, in some cases.

When choosing the exterior material for your home, it is important to consider every option. You may regret a hasty choice later. One exterior choice to think about is stucco. Assessing its benefits and drawbacks can help you decide if it is right for your home. You also need to understand its costs. Use the information below to learn more about stucco and see how it stacks up against other home siding methods.

What is Stucco?

Stucco is a type of textured siding with a cement base. Modern stucco also contains water, lime, and sand mixed together with the cement. Stucco is somewhat of a construction chameleon. It is frequently applied to multiple surfaces, including brick, wood, or stone. Stucco is also often blended or colored to make it look like other siding substances. It has been incorporated into buildings throughout the United States for many years. Although, its exact composition has changed since its early use in construction of what are now historic buildings.

What Are the Positives of Having a Stucco House?

Stucco has many benefits. Among the most important is energy efficiency. Heating and cooling accounts for more than 50 percent of energy usage in homes. Stucco acts as an air-tight sealant. Therefore, stucco homes require less heating and cooling. Here are some other potential stucco benefits:

  • Properly maintained stucco helps keep moisture out of homes.

  • Homes with stucco exteriors are more fire-resistant.

  • Stucco has a longer lifespan than most other home exterior materials.

  • Contractors can adapt stucco into various attractive styles to increase curb appeal of homes.

  • Stucco saves money in various ways, including potentially decreasing home insurance premiums.

  • It is easy to add pigment to stucco or change its texture, making it more versatile than many other building materials.

  • Stucco is one of the most inexpensive home exterior materials available.

What Are the Negatives of Having a Stucco House?

Stucco is strong and long-lasting. However, it does have one major drawback. When maintenance to it is required, that maintenance is usually urgent. One of the most common and urgent problems that can occur with stucco is cracks. Those cracks can spread over time. Also, portions of them often run deep and are not visible. Therefore, repairing them is not usually a DIY project. It typically requires professionals to seal the cracks properly.

Another urgent problem that can occur with stucco is water penetration. Many types of siding repel water completely. Stucco usually keeps it out of the exterior of homes. However, the water can easily absorb into the stucco itself because stucco is porous. Therefore, it can become saturated over time. That can lead to mold growth or staining. It is necessary to clean stucco as soon as any discoloration appears.

How Much Does Stucco Initially Cost?

The amount it costs to initially stucco a structure depends on the size of the project. In the United States, the average total cost to stucco 1,500 square feet is $9,525. However, costs may vary by region and methods used. For example, a DIY stucco project only requires payment of the cost of materials. A professional stucco installation also includes labor costs. The cost per square foot for materials and labor combined ranges from approximately $6 to $9 in most parts of the United States.

How Much Does it Cost to Repair Stucco?

Repairing stucco is necessary sometimes. The cost to do so depends largely on the damage type and how widespread it is. For example, a stucco exterior saturated with moisture and mold is expensive and time consuming to fix. However, repairing a small crack in stucco is a quick project that is likely to cost far less. 

The cost to repair stucco is also determined by the method of repair. Regional rates, and the type of billing system may affect cost as well. For example, some stucco repair specialists charge an hourly rate, which can range from $40 to $50. Others charge per square foot for stucco repairs. Those rates often range from $60 to $120 but may vary widely. 

Another factor is the method of repair. Some stucco repairs are done by applying a single stucco coat. Others require three separate stucco applications. They are known as the lath, scratch, and brown coats. You may opt to purchase the materials and fix the stucco yourself for a small, single-coat patch. If so, your materials costs are likely to be approximately 50 cents per square foot. If the project is larger or requires multiple coats, you may opt to hire professionals.

What Else Do You Need to Know About Stucco?

The information above can help you decide if stucco is right for you. However, you must also consider the landscape and the general environment in which you live. That environment can have a large impact on the effectiveness and longevity of stucco. For instance, stucco does not have ideal insulating properties. Therefore, it is not the most suitable choice for a home in a cold climate. It is also not ideal if you live in a wet region with frequent rainfall. You can use it in such a region, but you must prepare to perform maintenance on it more frequently than you otherwise might in a drier climate. Finally, stucco often cracks when homes experience foundation instability. Therefore, it is not ideal if you live in a region with clay soil, which shifts easily. It is also not suitable in areas prone to earthquakes.